What is happening Gym N Japan fam! This week we will bring you a little bit about Japan and a few interesting things we wanted to discuss. Those topics are: Torii gates, Temples and of course ANIME! We limited it to just these 3 topics purely because you could go on forever talking about Japan! We will definitely be adding to this in the future because there's so much we are passionate about in Japan.
Let's kick off the all about Japan series with a little bit about the country itself! Japan is an island, situated in east asia with a population of around 125.8 million and is slowly decreasing.. The capital is Tokyo which houses a whopping 13.96 million people within the city then this blows out to around 37 million in the greater metropolitan area. To put that into perspective we only have around 25.69 million people with so much land.
Here's the comparison for you set out a bit easier:
Area - 7,617,930 Square Kilometres
Population - 25.69 Million
Tokyo metropolitan area:
Area - 13,452 Square Kilometres
Population - 37.468 Million
I know that was a brief introduction but let's jump into it!
Torii gates are a huge part of Japan's identity with many becoming famous because they are just cool to look at! Ok. They do have a specific purpose and that is to signal the transition from the normal areas into a sacred area. With that in mind they are found at the entrance and within Shinto shrines. Torii gates have existed for a very long time and were mentioned in text written in 922. Back in those days they were traditionally made out of wood or stone with a few still standing to this day! The stone torii at Hachiman Shrine in Yamagata prefecture was built in the 12th century and is said to be the oldest stone torii still standing.
The most famous ones are probably the toriis at inari taisha shrine and Itsukushima Shrine. These two in particular are always referenced in anime and known all over the world. Inari taisha shrine in particular is always used for those school trips in anime which is pretty cool. We highly recommend seeing these while in Japan.
Torii gates can be found almost anywhere in Japan…even in the bloody ocean!?!
Fun FACT: There are around 80,000 temples throughout Japan.
For myself (Jake) and someone who hasn’t been to Japan before, these are probably my favourite thing about Japanese history and culture. The architecture and designs of these buildings is a sight to behold. With such rich culture embedded into each and every temple throughout Japan.
There are many different styles of temples, ranging in different sizes and colours. Some of them you can walk through, up and around. Whereas some of the older temples do not allow you to gain access to them due to being historical and wanting to preserve them.
There are also 2 distinct differences between the temples created in Japan. This includes:
Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples -
Shinto Shrines are built to serve the Shinto religious tradition, characterized by a torii gate at the entrance. Temples are built to serve the Buddhist religious tradition and are characterized by a sanmon gate at the entrance!
Fun FACT: There are around 100,000 temples throughout Japan.
If you have been following along with the blogs, you’ll know that anime is a big part of both our lives. In Japan this is essentially a part of their culture and history as it is where it all started! Anime first started in the early 1900s and slowly progressed to become more mainstream. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it became more accepted which saw more and more interest internationally. By the early 2000s it has become part of the culture in Japan with studios like Studio Ghibli just revolutionizing anime. Anime has been a great thing for Japan because it brings people to the country to visit, kinda feels like they have brainwashed both of us but we ain’t mad. It has also helped us explore japan without even stepping foot in it which is good thing because we now know where we want to go when we go to Japan to explore :D
Whenever they have big movies or new anime coming out, unlike in Australia or other places in the world, they have billboards, taxis, buses, the works, promoting the new series or anime movie! They get super hyped about it like it was some Hollywood production.
A lot of us might think that anime studios and creators, even the mangaka (people who create the manga) are super rich because of how popular anime has become. But many studios and creators don't actually earn much money. During COVID's peak devastating period through 2021, many people lost their jobs and anime companies took a big hit.
Fun FACT: There are more than 430 anime studios
Favourite Japanese Words - Meanings
Baka - Haydon
Sempai - Haydon
Onii-chan - Haydon
As always, thank you so much for tuning in! It really does mean a lot to us!
If you guys have any questions, want us to do reviews etc. feel free to send us a message and we will do our best :P
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